Excellent column by Owen today:
Charter school worth exploring in West Bend
There is a proposal before the West Bend School Board to create a charter school in the district. It’s a proposal worthy of serious consideration.
Charter schools are not new to Wisconsin. There are over 220 charter schools in the state. Charter schools are simply schools that are chartered – i.e. contracted – by a chartering authority to provide education with taxpayer dollars but are absolved of having to comply to many of the regulations that burden traditional public schools.
Charter schools also, because they are not shackled by as many stringent state regulations, offer school districts the opportunity to be innovative. Charter schools in Wisconsin specialize in technology, arts, the environment, math, science, at-risk, direct instruction, virtual and any number of other specializations while still offering the core curriculum required for all public school kids.
Second, the financials of a charter school may prove to be a net benefit to the district. The way school funding works, the money follows the student. For each student that enters the district, the district receives about $9,100 of funding. The proposed charter school is estimating a cost of about $8,000 to educate each student. In other words, for each net new student added to the district, the district would receive a net “profit” of about $1,100 to be added to the general budget
Crossroads Academy seems to offer everything for which the district is striving. Educational flexibility. Relief from state mandates. Freedom from the confines of a unionized work force. Financial security. There are a few more details to gather, but all signs are that the School Board would provide an excellent service to the citizens of the district by exploring this opportunity.